I used to think that when someone called me, or in fact to be called an idealist, was some kind of a slight. But somehow, just now, 30 plus years into adulthood, I realize that in fact making the ideal real is all an idealist is about. And it’s a pretty powerful thing – to me, it means I never give up (okay, well, I rarely give up) – especially on really big picture things. Here’s a bit of what I’m talking about:
School district superintendents at your neighborhood coffee? Entire city councils, state elected officials and big city mayors tweeting themselves? What’s coming over people? Could it be that a critical mass of content finally has piled up (in no small part here on the Civic Commons: Dan’s blog post, his and Luke Frazier’s radio show on the subject of school board meetings, and this conversation started by a local resident) and folks are taking the hint that this is exactly what they should be doing, especially if they’re elected people in charge of taxpayer dollars?
The Internet and many other varieties of technological innovations multiply the ways in which we can engage with each other. My Civic Commons work often makes me think about how our platform makes saying “no” to engagement an impossibility, because it is so safe and easy here.
And yet the safe and easy isn’t even what the folks reaching out in any of those examples to which I’ve hyperlinked have in mind. If it was, you wouldn’t read about a superintendent who goes knocking on doors to get input and have conversations.
Read the rest here.
Has anyone ever called you an idealist, or have you ever called someone an idealist, especially in a pejorative way? Maybe you need to think again.
As if we needed any more evidence as to why the Civic Commons wants its users to agree to be “civil” before engaging online, a Columbus Dispatch editorial declared last week, in regard to a social media incident involving the state Board of Education president, “This H-bomb is a dud: Invoking Hitler is unlikely to be a winning political strategy” and a highly regarded expert on online politicking likewise wrote of the same incident, “…dropping the H-bomb pretty much destroys the intellectual credibility of the dropper…”. That H-bomb, and many other words and utterances of name-calling, are the nuclear bomb equivalents of destroying any chance for meaningful, useful dialogue. And that is the opposite of what the Civic Commons seeks to promote.
Of course, linguistic laziness in unpacking and examining controversial topics isn’t committed solely by people in the poltiical arena. Last year, a food industry CEO apologized for comparing President Obama’s health care reform efforts to fascism because, as he admitted, the word “fascism” has “…so much baggage attached to it.” He went on to say that he thinks we need a new word to describe what he sees as the country, “…no longer hav[ing] free-enterprise capitalism in health care…[because t]he government is directing it.
Read the full post here.
Because I have not seen enough or many women-oriented sites covering this. I’m not sure what’s up with that, and it’s absent from all along the political spectrum.
From Minnesota Public Radio which seems to be covering it well: Sexual Assault in the US Military
The Daily Beast: Lackland Rape Scandal Shines Spotlight On Military Failure
WARNING: Expletives used.
Here in Northeast Ohio, Monday morning shattered when news of a high school junior shooting several of his schoolmates started streaming into my inbox via news alerts.
At 8:18 a.m., I read: Breaking News: Report: Geauga County Sheriff’s Department and OSHP heading to Chardon High School (the original item isn’t even there anymore, there’ve been so many updates)
I didn’t have to read another word before saying the trifecta out loud to an empty house, “G-ddamnit. Shit. Fuck.”
Even as I write this, my stomach cramps up, my lower lids fill up and I bite my lip drawing in a huge sigh.
I thought that the first thing I’d write about in this post would be about what we know. But ha. Really — just ha. Because I also think about all that we don’t know. And what of either category simply doesn’t matter?
For anyone wanting to keep up or catch up, so far, the best source for information has been the Cleveland Plain Dealer and you can find all their reports on the Chardon shooting here. I’ve heard multiple news outlets congratulate them throughout the week, and I’d say they’re deserving.
UPDATE: Via Plunderbund, here’s an excellent Ohio.com editorial from today that chastises the Ohio House Republicans’ latest shenanigans with charters and demands that someone in elected office step up and stop it.
And he’s not saying this in a good way, at all. And he is not fringe and he is not alone.
Read the entire article in the Dispatch today, “GOP bill reduces charter schools’ accountability.”
And then be sure to refresh your memory of how White Hat Management, the most notorious for-profit charter school operator in Ohio, received $17 million of your money for ghost students.
Oh, and before you go on, recall the editorial from the Cincy Enquirer in 2009 about how money and charters don’t mix.
On what planet in what universe do some of these people elected by Ohioans, charged with spending Ohioans’ tax dollars, LIVE ON? (And Josh Mandel – you support charters, who clearly support you – what do you have to say to this evisceration of accountability with our money, given that you are the Ohio Treasurer? Fascinating note – the news article that reported on Mandel’s appearance at Ashland Univ. where he reportedly mentions support for school choice, charters and the elimination of the estate tax is now available only in its cached form.)
This quote from the lobbyist for White Hat and its chief, David Brennan, is textbook rhetoric, obfuscation and scamming:
[Tom] Needles said the charter-school concept is to allow greater flexibility and fewer restrictions so schools can be innovative and improve student learning.
Letting the Ohio Department of Education grant permission for charter schools to open and eliminating sponsors will direct more money into the classroom and remove another layer of bureaucracy, he said.
Let’s get something straight: The layer that needs to be removed is the FOR-PROFIT layer that sends my money into David Brennan’s profit coffer that then ends up back in the millions of dollars he gives to the very elected officials who are championing his garbage legislative proposals to help him earn more profit, not direct money to classrooms. Read more
By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:37 am May 3rd, 2011 in Courage, Crime, democracy, Education, Government, John Kasich, Josh Mandel, leadership, Ohio, Politics, Republicans, Transparency, treasurer, Youth | Comments Off
In today’s Chagrin Valley Times, columnist Barbara Christian wrote about our new statehouse representative, Marlene Anielski, a Republican and former mayor of the small (US Census 2000 says 2,400) village of Walton Hills. Christian seeks to highlight our preconceived notions related to party affiliation – the good, the bad and the as yet unknown.
In “Open mind may be hard to keep,” Christian describes a constituent event Anielski held at the Chagrin Falls library about ten days ago at which many attendees wanted to talk about SB5:
She had come to talk to constituents, one on one and face to face. She wanted to hear their concerns and maybe fix them. But while no subject was off the table, it appeared that the only one the majority of people wanted to talk about was one she was not prepared to address, Ohio Senate Bill 5. Read more
By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:34 pm March 3rd, 2011 in conservatives, Courage, democracy, employment, Ethics, Government, leadership, OH17, OH24th, Politics, Social Issues, Statehouse, Transparency, Voting, Women | 4 Comments
She’s not my U.S. Senator so maybe it’s easier for me to write this, but anyone who says this is going to have me listening to them:
“I will tell you, I am not one of those who wants Obama to fail,” Murkowski said. “If he does well, that means the country’s doing well. We don’t have time as a nation to spend all of what we do blocking. We have got to figure out how we get to a point where we can be sitting around the table and talking about these difficult problems and advancing some solutions.”
That we’re even calling speaking up this way as requiring courage should tell us something as well.
In the short clips at this CBS article about Murkowski’s interview with Katie Couric, Murkowski talks about needing to be there for all Alaskans – not just the ones that vote for her. I’ve been talking until I’m blue in the face lately about my concern that many electeds no longer even give lip service to this concept, let alone act on it. While there, you also can watch the portion of Katie Couric’s CBS interview in which Murkowski lauds Sarah Palin for her ability to connect with people but also critiques her for lacking “intellectual curiosity” and “leadership qualities.”
I completely agree with this:
“I want somebody that goes to bed at night and wakes up in the morning thinking about how we’re going to deal with our national security issues, how we’re going to deal with our economy, how we’re going to deal with providing better education or peace in the Middle East.”
As with Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins or Nancy Pelosi for that matter, these electeds reflect their voters, don’t pander to the screed of the hour and instead somehow manage to communicate an emphasis on being a public servant with political skill, and not on being a politician. Murkowski was criticized for her primary loss precisely because she wasn’t political enough. And Snowe is being targeted specifically because she builds bridges – those after her literally seek to blow up the figurative bridge between ideological approaches to common interests. Read more